A motor vehicle’s braking system is definitely one of its most important systems. No matter how great a car’s engine is, you need a way to stop the large moving mass of metal. A braking system’s job is ensuring that you can always keep your vehicle’s speed in check and to be able to stop it at any given time. This is why it is very important to know a little more about braking systems in general.
As mentioned above, a vehicle’s braking system is there to ensure that you have a way to stop or slow it down. There are many types of braking systems found in vehicles, but most passenger cars nowadays make use of two types of brakes, namely disk brakes and drum brakes, with the former being mounted on the front wheels and the latter on the rears. These braking systems follow a similar working principle. The braking process starts when you press your foot down on the brake pedal. This action sends brake fluid inside a master cylinder to the brake lines found on all four wheels of your car. In disk brakes, the brake fluid pushes on the pistons, which will then act to clamp the brake pads onto the wheel to try and stop it. In drum brakes, the fluid is used to push brake shoes onto the brake drum, which will be pushed outwards to contact with the wheel, effectively stopping it by friction.
Vehicle braking systems of all kinds, including caravan brakes and even brakes found in heavy vehicles, are often not that hard to access. Simply removing the wheels off a vehicle will allow you to have access to most of the replaceable parts of a braking system, making the maintenance process a relatively hassle free procedure. Nevertheless, it is advised to contact a professional mechanic to do the job, unless you have prior experience doing brake maintenance work and you know the right procedures to secure all the parts.
Braking system faults are generally easier to identify when compared to other car niggles. The most common signs of a braking system needing attention come in the form of squealing noises when travelling at speed, pedals feeling lighter or heavier than they should be and an overall loss of braking power. Some cars also come with warning signals and lights to alert you about possible faults in your vehicle’s braking system. It is advisable to get your brakes serviced as soon as you identify these faults, as badly malfunctioning brakes can lead to either costly repairs, as well as causing a serious hazard to both you and other road users.